Confession: I’ve had writer’s block for 26 years.
That’s an exaggeration. Between the ages of 0 and 6, I could not write. I do not remember writing until the fall of 1997, when I was in 1st grade.
So let me correct myself: I’ve had writer’s block for 20 years.
Sure, I’ve produced some pretty good essays and articles for school assignments in those times. I’ve written a few poems, a few blog entries, and even one “novel” during the rat race of NaNoWriMo. But I can count on my fingers and toes the amount of compositions I’ve come up with that I am proud of. Most of that pride came because someone else told me, “Sarah, this is great.” There was an 8th grade poetry project. An essay on media ethics I had to read to a class of scary, confident journalism majors. And an essay on nature and death that made my dramatic and wonderful professor clutch his heart when he referenced it later.
I’ve been waiting for someone to give me approval.
I’m a reader. The last couple of years were busy as I met and married the irrepressible B and began my teaching career. Books fell by the wayside, but I’m two weeks and four books into summer, and loving it. I think being a reader has made being a writer hard for me. There are already so many good words in the world, why add my redundant and possible muddled prose to the mix?
But as I read, I feel called. I know what I want to write. Or at least have a general idea. I cannot guarantee that the world needs my voice, but I know one thing: I need my words to come out. I was created for a purpose, and words seem to be wrapped up in my bones and make my head and heart spin. And I know they need to get out.
About a week ago, Donald Miller (author of the recent and highly recommended Scary Close) came to my hometown, something I never would have expected. I love his books, and they always seem to come along at the right time. I went to hear him speak, and the whole experience was wonderful on many levels. During his talk on “Common Characteristics of Heroes,” he said something that hit me between the eyes.
“We live in a consumer culture,” he said. “But we are not called to be consumers. We are co-creators. We have a God-given agency to change the world.”
I’ve been waiting for someone to give me permission.
Little did I think, when I was created with this love for words, that was all the permission I needed. I am co-creator. So here I go.